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Author: Cushman, Karen
In a medieval kingdom, Grayling finds self-confidence when her mother is turned into a tree by evil forces and Grayling must venture into the wilds to reverse the spell.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.80
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 182447
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 67737
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/16)
The Hornbook (00/05/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2016 Grayling lives with her mother, a wise woman whose spells help the locals with their ailments and troubles. The girl does the drudge work until the day her mother starts turning into a tree, rooted in the ground. Her grimoire, a book of spells, has disappeared, and she directs Grayling to go out into the world, find the book, and save her. But how is an unskilled girl supposed to do that? So begins the heroine’s journey, facing danger at every turn and armed with nothing but the ability to hear the book’s song, which she dutifully follows. Along the way she meets an old woman and her petulant charge, a silky enchantress, and a teacher of sorcery who is as much trouble as he is help. Unfortunately, none of these self-interested characters give readers much to root for. Even Grayling, though she evolves from fearful girl to confident leader, is rather flat throughout, and fans of the author’s strong heroines may find her lacking. Still, Cushman writes so evocatively that readers might yet be swept along by the story. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2016 Grayling is content to be background to her effusive mother, the local wise woman and healer, until her mother is literally rooted to the ground by some evil force that is slowly turning her into a tree. Off Grayling goes, with great reluctance and armed with only a small store of potions that are quickly eaten by a mouse, into the wider world to find magical folk who can fix her mother. At least the now-magical mouse tags along as company, and Grayling’s gathering song works to gain her a few more allies. The group works well as a whole, but Cushman also effectively makes them stand out as individuals, and readers will likely care deeply about all of them by the end. The language gives the book the atmospheric flavor of historical fiction, and the land itself is wild and mysterious, exactly the type of place where magic could happen, children could wander around trying to fix the world, and tiny mice could shapeshift into mighty protectors if fed the right potion. Cushman offers a complete story with clear resolutions, a memorably complex villain, and a sweet protagonist who becomes far more than background by the end; fantasy buffs and Cushman fans alike will be well pleased. AS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.